YEAR: 2013


Hubert Christey a colourful harness figure who died recently in his early 80's had a long hobby owning anf training career book-ended by "Bombers". Bomber Bill was an especially hardy open class pacer of the 1970's familiar to many racing fans and the trotter Master Bomber near the end of his life when largely trained by his son-in-law Gerard O'Reilly.

From Winslow near Ashburton, Christey used local bloodlines to get Bomber Bill - a sort of 'old identity' of his time known for his longevity as much as his performances - borowing a mare by Whipster and putting her to Robert Dillon both sires standing in Mid-Canterbury.

Bomber Bill was broken in by Christey's neighbour Jack Tozer, who bred Wippy Jean, and he also trained him early in his career when racing him in partnership with Christey. Bomber Bill won three races at three and the Rangiora Winter Cup with Maurice Holmes driving was his only success at four.

He was trandferred to Ron Webster at Tinwald after Tozer's death and made open class at five years with five wins including a heat of the Easter Cup when he defeated Globe Bay, Hi Foyle, Royal Belmer and Vanadium. One of his wins was in the Ashburton Cup a big thrill for his owner.

Later Christey trained the hardy veteran himself and qualified him for the 1975 Inter-Dominion Grand Final in Auckland where he scored more points in the heats than some big hitters. However he sprung a tendon early into the final and tailed the field.

Placings were his lot when trained by his owner. He also had some success with another hardy type Yankee Bomber, closely related to Bomber Bill, who had 28 starts in his first season as a 5-year-old in 1979-80 and won two races overall.

Just as Bomber Bill's dam, Wippy Jean had been on the backburner when he borrowed her and her first foal was much her best, Master Bomber's granddam, Little Miss Muffet (Game Pride) was headed for Gore when Christey acquired her cheaply and bred two foals by Yankee Jolter for "a bag of chaff each" he liked to recall.

The first, Little Jolter, once described by her owner as "as mad as a snake who got hold of me one day and could have killed me" won six races. The other, Miss Powder Puff, was the dam of Master Bomber a high class trotter who went amiss before the best was seen of him. He won 10 races. De Valera was another good winner for Hubert Christey winning six races trotting between 1999 and 2005.

Credit: HRWeekly 7Aug13


YEAR: 2011


Master Bomber was back in the winners’ circle on Saturday at Addington when taking out the Group 3 United Fisheries Ltd Trotting FFA. With two wins under his belt this season, the Armbro Invasion-gelding closed as second favourite behind Dr Hook in the $25,000 race.

Master Bomber was one of the fastest off the gate with trainer-driver Gerard O’Reilly electing to head straight to the front for the 1950m trot. From there he was untouchable. Heading for home he charged in front of the field. Idid It Myway tried hard to cut him down, but could not close in fast enough, with Master Bomber winning by a length. Idid It Myway was second by a neck over stablemate Dr Hook, who had run on very well.

Master Bomber is owned by Hubert Christey and is now into his third season of racing. Saturday’s win was his first Group race and 10th lifetime win from 41 starts which includes this seasons’ Listed Ordeal Cup. The seven-year-old has earned $125,540 from these starts.

Credit: Harness Racing Website


YEAR: 2010


Master Bomber's win in last Friday's (September 17) Ordeal Trotting Cup (Listed) was just the tonic for harness racing owner Hubert Christey. Gerard O'Reilly married Christey's daughter Jane and now trains the seven year old. Christey suffered a stroke just over two months ago, and with on-going complications the 79 year old has only just been released from hospital.

"Yes he's been through a tough time lately and it was a real pick me up," said Gerard O'Reilly. Master Bomber himself has been the focus of an ongoing problem for O'Reilly also, with a quarter crack the original reason the Rakaia trainer attained the son of Armbro Invasion.
"The father-in-law did a great job and won seven races with him, but he had a nasty quarter-crack and we've had him since December. Kerry (O'Reilly) tried hard to get it right but it just wasn't working so we were forced to tip him out," O'Reilly says. A six week break that included the addition of a bar shoe, constant tubbing and bathing in bluestone (copper sulphate) helped the Bomber make a full recovery from the debilitating ailment.

Master Bomber received a solid build-up this time in with several workouts and trials stripping him fit for the Ordeal. After dropping into the 1-1 early O'Reilly popped in front of the three wide train at the 1400 to get handy again. Forced back in the field turning in, Master Bomber still had plenty of work to do. Leader Ray looked to have stolen a break at the top of the straight but it was to be short lived as Leighton Hest, Roydon Flash and finally Master Bomber made their final assaults, the big Bomber diving late to grab the leading duo in the shadows of the post, beating Leighton Hest by a half head. In a tight finish Roydon Flash was only a head away in third.

The win was just what the doctor ordered for Hubert Christey, it is hoped the long-time harness racing patron will make a full recovery, we wish him all the best. Master Bomber will now be aimed towards a start in the Banks Peninsula Trotting Cup at Motukarara on October 3. "He's won on the track before and should be better for the run the other night," O'Reilly said.

Master Bomber has now won eight of 33 starts and has been placed on 10 occasions with stake earnings of $84,000.

Credit: Steve Dolan writing in Harnesslink

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